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General Phiyega applauds the lengthy sentencing of killers of police officials

Media Statement from National Media Centre
Corporate Communication

South African Police Service

Pretoria- The National Commissioner of the South African Police Service, General Riah Phiyega, has applauded the lengthy jail sentences handed down to three men, whose reign of terror claimed nine lives, including those of three police officers, by the High Court, sitting in Palm Ridge, this week.

In the South Gauteng High Court last week, Judge Ratha Mokgoatlheng collectively handed the three men, aged between 27 and 30, 21 life sentences and 415 years’ imprisonment.

The reign of terror of Vukani Ngcobo, Bonginkosi Fundakwezake and Qaphelani Chiyi first came to the fore when they killed two people at a tavern in Soweto in 2012. Along the way, they also killed Constables Lanah Rangani, Geoffrey Matlou and Sergeant Nkosinathi Mgimeti and robbed them of their official firearms. The three police officers were shot and killed in Johannesburg in August and October 2012. The fourth police official, Constable Philly Baloyi, survived the shooting.

General Phiyega said: “Credit must go to the detective officers whose hard work and attention to detail played a crucial role in securing such hefty sentences. In the same light, we hope that the families and colleagues of the victims will derive strength from the fact that those who inflicted this painful experience in their lives, have been jailed for a long time.”

The National Commissioner has also acknowledged the speed at which a joint police team tracked and eventually arrested a suspect who had allegedly shot and killed a police officer in Mpumalanga, Constable Joseph Baloyi. Constable Baloyi, aged 35, was a detective and was shot at his place of residence as he alighted from his car last week. Baloyi was investigating a killer who faced many charges, including house robbery, housebreaking and attempted murder. 

These lengthy sentences are welcomed. A total of 1 501 police officers have been attacked in 2014/2015, 329 more than the 2013/2014 financial year. In the 2014/2015 financial year, we lost 86 police officers, nine more than the 2013/2014 financial year.

These numbers clearly reflect that there has been an increase in the attacks on and killing of our police officers. Therefore, the lengthy sentence handed down to the three men for multiple murders and the speed at which the suspect in Mpumalanga was arrested, should serve as a lesson to any person who thinks that he/she can commit such heinous deeds and get away with it. In our quest for justice, we will search every nook and cranny to ensure that people such as these are penalised to the maximum.

Media enquiries: Brigadier Vishnu Naidoo – 082 567 4153